Morgan Lake Regatta Invites Backyard Boat Builders to a Race on the Water

LA GRANDE – La Grande Parks and Recreation’s annual Morgan Lake Regatta returns this year, but with a home-made twist. While attendees can still expect an evening of music on the lakeside, the 2023 Regatta will feature an actual boat race. Not only will this year’s Regatta keep to its namesake, but attendees will have to channel their inner backyard scientist and garage engineer to build their own custom boat. 

According to Recreation Coordinator Chris Gianandrea, the idea came up when someone once asked Parks and Rec where the actual boat race was, given the name of the event. Wanting to host a real regatta this time around but not wanting to use just canoes and rafts, Gianandrea and the team took it a step further. The idea for custom boats was inspired by similar homemade flying machine contests where participants test custom gliders off docks and bridges.

The rules for this showdown of Eastern Oregon ingenuity are simple, race participants will need to build their own boat from scratch. Participants can compete alone or in teams of up to three. There are no limitations on size, shape, or material type, though the boat must be non-motorized. It is also asked that all materials used are water safe. In addition, life jackets will be required for all participants.  

Entry into the contest is completely free. Prizes will be offered to the actual winners of the race, the most creative boat and, for lack of a better phrase, the team that gets most into character (think creative team themes, names, and costumes). The Regatta is scheduled for Saturday, July 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Morgan Lake. Avid hydro engineers can register for the race at Catalog – La Grande, OR ( until July 17. A parcs and rec account is required to register. For more information, contact Chris Gianandrea at 541-962-1352 or